Memphis Strands Five Runners at Third Base in 5-2 Loss to East Carolina
April 13, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis (15-19, 5-5) stranded five runners on third base and East Carolina (24-9-1, 7-2-1) scored five runs with two outs to take game one of the Conference USA series 5-2 on Friday at FedExPark.
Memphis got the bats going early with back-to-back hits by Ethan Gross and Ford Wilson to start the game. Gross placed a single to center and Ford Wilson reached on a bunt to third base. After a fly out gave ECU starter Kevin Brandt the first out, Eli Hynes hit a high chopper first and Wilson was out at second on the fielder's choice. With runners on the corners and one out, the Tigers couldn't drive the run in as Jacob Wilsongrounded out to first.
East Carolina put two runners on with one out in the top of the second and gained the lead with a two-out double by Jack Reinheimer. Jay Cannon singled to left and Zach Wright was hit by a pitch to put two on with one out. Memphis starter Dan Langfieldrecorded a strikeout to force a two-out RBI situation and Reinheimer delivered with a double down the left field line.
The Tigers answered in the bottom of the second as a two-base error on a grounder to third allowed Derrick Thomas to reach second base. Tucker Tubbssingled through the left side and Thomas scored to cut the ECU lead to 2-1. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the third, Hynes grounded into a double play, but Gross scored to knot the score at 2-2.
A two-out error and walk put pressure on Langfield to work out of a jam in the fifth. Langfield recorded his seventh strikeout on the afternoon to strand the second Pirate runner in scoring position. Memphis had runners on the corners with one out in the fifth, but the Tigers failed to produce a clutch two-out hit. A foul-out down the left field line got Brandt the second out and a strikeout ended the inning.
East Carolina regained the lead in the sixth as an error and passed ball led to a run. Corey Thompson singled to start the frame and an error on the infield allowed John Wooten to reach. A sacrifice bunt attempt was foiled as Langfield fielded the bunt and got the force out at third. Wright hit a blooper to right that was initially fielded, but dropped and thrown to second for force out. Wooten later scored on a pssed ball to give ECU the 3-2 lead. Reinheimer led off the seventh with a single and scored on a two-out single by Drew Reynolds to give ECU at 4-2 lead.
Having stranded five runners in scoring position in the first six innings, the Tigers needed a clutch hit in the seventh inning to slice into the ECU lead. Memphis put runners on the corners with one out, but a pop out and strikeout stranded both runners. The stranded runners were the eighth and ninth of the night for the Tigers and five of the nine were stranded at third base through seven innings of play.
East Carolina added an insurance run in the ninth with the help of a fifth two-out tally on the night. Reinheimer started the ninth with a single through the left side and a two-out double by Tim Younger made the score 5-2.
Langfield (5-4) pitched seven innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits. He recorded eight strikeouts which moved him into sole possession of fifth place in career strikeouts with 211. Brandt (5-2) picked up the win as he allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits in 6.1 innings. Tanner Merritt closed the door and recorded his sixth save as he pitched 2.2 innings and allowed no runs on one hit. Gross led the Tiger offense with two hits, but East Carolina out-hit Memphis 8-7.
Memphis looks to even the series as the two clubs meet Saturday at FedExPark. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.